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 Rites of Passage: Iron Riders

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Zoe

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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Fri 13 Sep 2013, 14:06

Zoe laughed to herself and shook her head as she continued toward the pillar.

"It was worth a shot, right?" she asked whoever might be listening.

"He'll be back...if for no other reason than to gloat that the big, bad wolfling couldn't catch him."

She picked up the feather and held it with the first one. A mischievous grin crossed her face.

"I could always tell Red that I found the bird and this is all that's left of him."

She pondered that a moment longer then shook her head.

"Probably best not to lie about completing one's right of passage, huh?"

As Zoe approached the pillar, the sound of the Onesong grew stronger and she smiled as the music poured over her.  The bird could wait. Right now she had a debt to settle with a strangely poetic spider.

Zoe stood there a moment longer before she realized that as beautiful as the pillar and its song were, it did not appear to be the architect she was seeking.  

Go to the ruins.  Awaken the sleeping builder.  I'm at the ruins, but I don't see any builder who requires awakening.

Zoe returned to the dilapidated mission and stepped inside.  There was nothing of interest inside, except for one thing.  She rolled her eyes as her next step became clear.  Taking hold of the rope with two hands she pulled it smoothly with great effort.  Her decision was rewarded not with the expected loud, metallic clanging, but with a melodious chiming as if a few perfectly tuned bells were being rung in harmony.  

She took a step back from the rope and waited, hoping that was the right thing to do.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Fri 13 Sep 2013, 15:47

The chiming bells were swiftly drowned out as the ground split and cracked, and with a grinding, rhythmic clamor the stone pillar shuddered to life. One after another, great, spindly legs clattered free of the main body and drove downward into the ground as the thing staggered upright. Zoe could hear the Onesong of the Weaver intertwining with the noise of the creature's movements. Iron and stone contorted and twisted as the spirit finally heaved itself up on all twelve of its long, metal legs. It looked like an ambulatory government building roughly in the shape of a spider.

It was nearly twice the size of the old Spanish church. The strains of the Onesong heightened in intensity as the behemoth turned towards the young werewolf and fixed her with a distant, calculating stare. Its 'face' was comprised of stone arches intersecting at incredibly sharp angles. As Zoe looked closely, she could see that trigonometric runes were etched all over the construct's body.  

The titanic spirit said nothing. It simply watched her for several moments, swaying slowly, almost imperceptibly, to the music of the Weaver. Then the giant brought its claws down on the nearest house, eviscerating the structure like an eggshell with a single whistling pass. It began reformatting the wreckage, combining it with small parts of its own body to provide the superstructure of a massive length of web.


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Fri 13 Sep 2013, 16:33

Zoe watched in awe as the spirit awoke and began its work. The last spider spirit she spoke with didn't seem like much for chatting, so Zoe chose to simply watch instead as it went about destroying and building.

I guess it's safe to say this is the guy the spider in town was talking about, seeing as how he's the only thing out here that woke up when I rang the bell in the ruins it appears to call home.  That wasn't so tough.

"Happy building, Mr. Architect Spirit!" Zoe called out as she turned back toward town.

She considered finding the smaller spider and informing her that the task was complete, but she doubted a spirit this large and noisy would go unnoticed for long. Instead she decided to continue her original task of tracking the little gaffling bird.

She walked back toward the center of town, looking for any signs of the creature, perhaps a third stray feather or some claw marks or foot prints.  Unfortunately, she saw no signs of the creature. The incessant droning of the busy spiders drowned out all hope of her being able to hear the bird's sounds.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to clear her thoughts and discern the next step. With that breath she inhaled the scent of oil, metal, and hickory.  With her eyes still closed, she grinned wryly.

"Gotcha," she said softly as she took another sniff.  

The hickory scent was coming from the feathers in her hand. The strength of the smell was almost pungent, yet not offensive.

With another deep breath, she sensed the hickory aroma wafting from the direction of the forest just outside of town.  The scent was still somewhat strong here, which meant she wasn't far behind the creature.

As she walked toward the edge of town, she waved to a couple of busy spiders.

"Looks great, guys! Keep up the good work!  Oh, and, by the way, the architect is up and running again, as requested."

As Zoe neared the edge of town, she sensed the bird had moved down one of the corridors between two of the web-clad buildings. She glanced down the dead-end corridor but did not see the bird. The smell had grown so strong she knew it must be near.

She walked down the corridor and found a narrow passageway that reeked of the small creature. Using her pocket watch as a mirror, she peeked around the corner and smiled. The gaffling bird was strutting about in his little hideout, chuckling to himself.

"Silly wolfling will never find me here. She's too busy playing with the spiders. Doesn't even know how to hunt. Silly wolfling."

Silly wolfling, eh?

Zoe angled her watch in such a way to reflect the light of half moon on the ground a few inches in front of the bird in an attempt to draw him out without giving herself away.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Sun 15 Sep 2013, 03:18

Zoe was so preoccupied with catching the bird spirit that she could did not notice the smell until it overpowered the hunt-scent of her quarry. The stench of wet, sweaty money and dry rot invaded her nostrils. Coming down the street was a shadowy form, two legged but far too tall to be a man. Smoky, indistinct tendrils of vile miasma hovered and darted about the shape, undulating fitfully in the pale moonlight.

The thing was less than a block away, and as the creature approached Zoe realized that the flitting ribbons of darkness were faint, eel-like spirits, writhing over and through the humanoid silhouette, their silently chattering mouths filled with needle teeth. The stink was almost overpowering, and the young werewolf had to fight the urge to gag.

Before she could hide or snarl a challenge at the foul thing ambling closer and closer, another shape materialized. A slight man wearing a long, dusty trail jacket and an old worn cowboy hat stood in the alley opposite her. His features were hidden by shadow, but he held up a finger to his lips, an unmistakable request that she be quiet.
 
Zoe held her breath, both to keep silent and to prevent her from inhaling the unholy aroma of the vile spirits as the smoky man crept past. When the thing finally reached the end of the block, it seemed to stop and crouch, and Zoe could see that several similar dark spirits had come ghosting out of the indistinct umbral forest beyond, seemingly to meet on the outskirts of town. They gathered close and squatted in the dust, communing inaudibly.

As the would-be Iron Rider was weighing her options, there was a burst of tatty wings and a muffled, panicky flapping sound, and Zoe cursed to herself as she realized the bird gaffling must have spooked. She glanced up and, sure enough, the bird had taken off and was winging away back toward the center of town as fast as it could. She tensed as the foolish spirit let out a frightened, piercing cry.

The cowboy was suddenly on her side of the alley, standing next to her. Even in the moonlight she could see that he was quite tan, but his eyes were wild and yellow, of all colors, like liquid fool's gold. He gave her a crooked smile and nodded down the street, indicating the hunched, stinking spirits.

One of the crouching, predatory smoke men had twisted around and stood up, and after a moments consideration, it began stalking back towards them, black tendrils lashing fitfully.

"Yikes, here he comes. This could get messy." An unlit coffin-nail hung from the smiling corner of his mouth, and the stranger's voice wasn't much below a stage whisper. "Birds ruin everything."
He looked her up and down, eying the half-crushed feathers that Zoe still held in her hand. "Hey, tell you what- gimme one of those there feathers and I'll teach you a trick."


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Sun 15 Sep 2013, 05:09

Zoe did her best to remain calm, but this was the first being she had encountered here that seemed to have less-than-pure intentions. Not to mention the horrendous stench that even now she tried to withstand to keep from wretching.

The cowboy's sudden appearance was like a breath of fresh air, though unfortunately only a figurative one. She did not know him from any other spirit, but he felt genuinely interested in keeping her safe.

As the gaffling bird flew off, Zoe cursed, not because she would have to find him again - that was easy enough - but because he had drawn the attention of one of the disturbing creatures at the end of the block.

When the cowboy drew near, Zoe felt immediate relief. Per his request she shoved both feathers into his hand, her eyes never leaving the smoky figure headed their way.

"What are those things and why do they smell like death?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Sun 15 Sep 2013, 23:35

The stranger laughed softly as she handed him both feathers. The shadowy spirit was less than half a block away, its disjointed movements carrying it ever closer to their woefully inadequate hiding spot in the alley. Zoe was slightly shocked that it had not already spotted them.

"You're generous- that'll get you pretty far 'round here." Without removing his cowboy hat, the stranger felt around and jammed the feathers in his hatband at a jaunty angle. "I think you are getting the hang of this." The cloying stench was growing stronger; Zoe could practically taste the old sweat on her tongue. The yellow-eyed man continued quickly and easily: "Those are Banes. They look terrible and smell worse, and don't get me started on their manners." He grin quickly grew cold. "They are thinking shreds of hate that exist to feed off of misery and pain."

Then the stranger's aspect lightened and he tapped the side of his nose. "I'll let you in on a secret: Garou can peek out of the umbra. It won't be easy here in town, but just a fast glimpse will let you see what else you are dealing with. All you have to do is concentrate and force your eyes to see through the barriers between the worlds- but don't take my word for it, give it a shot!"He winked at Zoe before sticking a few fingers in his mouth, as if he were about to whistle.

The young theurge turned from her odd companion and focused on the reeking, juddering being that was advancing towards her. For a brief moment she seemed to see nothing but she focused her will, forcing herself to see past spirit-stuff. At first, all she saw was the blood dancing behind her eyes, but then through the murk she could see a street- a normal, dark and dusty Texas street. The hideous shadow-beast was gone. Standing in its place, close under the eaves of a darkened house, was a man. The fellow was of a dark complexion but seemed well-heeled, wearing a jet evening suit with a red waistcoat. He was staring up the road in her direction, but he was moving with the slow uncertainty of a man who doesn't quite remember what he is looking for. Less than a hundred feet distant, where the road gave way at the edge of the forest, five or six men stood close together. They seemed rough or unkempt, but it was hard for Zoe to make out any details. The man's eyes drifted past her, but Zoe shuddered involuntarily; in them, she saw the same writhing, gnawing darkness that was clearly visible in the penumbra.

The vision came to an abrupt end. In an instant, sleepy Nacodoches bled away, replaced by its otherworldly web-shrouded counterpart. The stranger still stood next her, fingers at the ready, still prepared to whistle. The cowboy seemed to notice that she had left her trance, though he did not seem to make a sound. Suddenly, from somewhere in the trackless umbral forest there was a deep throaty howl. Even at this distance Zoe could discern the intent- it was a stirring call to battle. The dark knot of shapes all jerked upright and the spirit creature bearing down on them halted, wavering. The stranger, index and middle finger still firmly in his mouth, frowned slightly. A second howl, louder and closer than the first, tore out from among the trees. This one was much darker and violent, a terrible keening howl filled with visceral threats for the enemies of the Garou. At this the shadow men broke and ran, scattering to the four winds as they lost themselves in the moonlit city. The closest one hurtled past their hiding spot, heedless in its fright.  

After a moment of tense silence, the strange man began searching his pockets for something. Seemingly preoccupied, he grinned at Zoe but did not look look up. "See anything interesting...?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Mon 16 Sep 2013, 08:02

She watched as he stuck the feathers in his hat, wondering what good they were to him.

"Generous? Perhaps. I see no point in making enemies where I don't have to, sir.  Now about that trick..."

As he explained peeking out of the umbra, she had a few questions, but chose to hold them until the situation with the banes was handled.  Zoe was a bit caught off guard when she peaked out and saw more or less the same scenario sans spirits. This raised even more questions for the kindly cowboy.

Back in the umbra, Zoe was relieved by the sounds of other Garou running off the unsightly banes. She wondered if howling of her own would have elicited the same response. Laughing softly to herself she recalled the sound of her howling, more like yipping, along with pack earlier.  Not something to strike fear in the heart of banes, she assumed.

"See anything?  I saw the town from where we are right now, only it looked normal.  I saw men there where the spirits were here. The closest was wearing a dark suit with some red on it. That's neat and all, but if the others hadn't scared them off, what good would me knowing the other side have done me? How could I have fought them off?"



Zoe was fascinated by the ability to see between worlds, but what did he mean when he said she could see what else she was dealing with?  

"Is my body actually in the middle of town walking around?  Is it just my spirit here? Does everything that happens here have a real world counterpart and vice versa?  Did the men I saw also flee when the howling started?"

She studied the yellow-eyed cowboy a moment longer and cocked her head to the side.

"I didn't have time to look, but do you have a real world persona as well?  Who are you? Are you Garou like me?  How come you're wearing clothes and I'm not?"

He continued to distractedly dig through his pockets as she peppered him with questions.

"What are you looking for anyway?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Mon 16 Sep 2013, 13:39

When she asked him what the point of peeking was, the cowboy laughed, a harsh but somehow wholesome sound in the weird night. "If those Banes had gotten wind of us, second sight wouldn't have done you any good at all. In fact, while peeking, you are pretty damn vulnerable." The stranger's yellow eyes twinkled. "But since I was planning on both of us walking away from that little interlude intact, I figured you might as well stop and see who and what you're up against."

The cowbow winked at her conspiratorially. "Between you and me, I was betting on them hightailing it. Six of them versus me and a pup aren't exactly winner's odds. Although if you do have to resort to fisticuffs, just do what comes naturally. Turns out neither humans or spirits enjoy being shredded by werewolf claws."  

As the man went through his pockets, he withdrew several strange items, including a handful of playing cards, old Mexican coins, and a large, living moth, which fluttered up and away towards the tired moon. He did not meet Zoe's quizzical look, but he kept on talking at a quick distracted pace. "As for your questions regarding the relationship between the spirit world and the physical world, the answers are: no, no, more or less, and yes."

"The answers to your questions regarding my person are as follows: maybe, I'm not telling, no, and ask your local rite master."

With an exasperated curse the stranger gave up on rummaging through his pockets. "I swear I had a lucifer around here somewhere. Oh well." He looked her up and down, disappointment evident in his weather-beaten face. "Doesn't look like you got a light, either. What a crying shame." The stranger shook his head and walked out of the alley, gazing vaguely in the direction the bird spirit was going before they lost sight of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Mon 16 Sep 2013, 14:22

"What would have happened to those men in the real world if we had destroyed the banes here? Would they have died? Were the banes possessing them? Controlling them? Feeding on them?"

At his aversion to her questions about him, she bowed her head slightly.

"Forgive me, spirit. I did not mean to pry. I simply wished to know who to credit for helping me out in here. I suppose No-Name the yellow-eyed cowboy spirit will have to do."

Her tone of voice was serious, but her eyes carried a glint of playfulness. She sighed and followed him out of the alley.

"Either way, Mr. Spirit, I must be going. Catching that bird that flew out of here earlier is the first part of my rite of passage, and I've not done such a good job thus far. The others probably think I won't make it back."

She stopped for a moment and pondered a thought.

"Does time pass the same here as it does there? I honestly do not know how long I've been in here."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Mon 16 Sep 2013, 17:35

The cowboy chuckled and waved his hand dismissively. "I'm not offended, although you do ask a lot of questions, O Theurgling. Your name for me ain't bad- I have been called many things over the years, but I've never been called by my name. Doesn't stop people from making something up, though. No Name, the Outsider, Nickajack, the Laughing Stranger. I like that last one best. Feels kinda romantic."

The cowboy began walking up the street rapidly, more or less in the direction that the gaffling had fled. His legs moved like fast grey scissors, but his tone remained easy and conversational as Zoe hurried along with him. His scent was curious- the cowboy smelled like bleached bone, wild ginger and red clay.  

"And I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. You have done alright as far as I can tell, considering that crazy Iron Rider alpha just tossed you into the penumbra without so much as a 'good luck.' Hell, you didn't get enough instruction to make a lemon pie, let alone how to barter with or fight against the critters of the umbra."

"By the way, time does pass here, and believe me, you do not want to stick around after the moon sets. Mr. Sun doesn't shine in the umbra like he should, so that's when all the really bad things start to crawl out of their holes."


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Mon 16 Sep 2013, 18:17

Zoe followed the Laughing Stranger down the street, keeping her eyes peeled for any sight of the gaffling foul. Her sense of smell was currently overwhelmed by the peculiar scent of the cowboy, so her sight would have to suffice in the meantime.

"If you won't tell me who you are, can you at least tell me what you are?"

Zoe had fallen a few paces behind and hurried to catch up, talking as she went.

"You're different from the spiders and the gaffling bird and you are nothing like those banes we faced earlier.  I know, I know. More questions, but I'm really just trying to understand all of this."

Zoe had stopped briefly to glance down an alley. No sign of that pesky bird. She huffed a sigh of frustration and scrambled to catch up yet again.

"Until I changed, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the way things worked, you know? But ever since that first transformation, my mind has been flooded with confusion and inquiries. 'Who am I?' 'What am I?' 'Who is my father?' 'Why is Tycheros Kostas such a big deal in Garou circles?'"

Her face registered a mixture of sadness and pride at the thought of her father. She quickly cleared her mind of such thoughts, since she had no visual image to support it.

"I'm sorry if I am overburdening you with my questions, it's just that you're the first person here who seemed likely to know what I needed to know and willing to share such knowledge."

Glancing up at the penumbral sky, Zoe noticed the moon drawing closer to the horizon. She decided that she didn't want to know what sorts of things would come out when it set, and she did not plan on sticking around long enough to find out.

"Looks like I best be finding my bird and getting out of here before things get really exciting around here."

She narrowed her eyes as a look of concern crossed her face.

"I wonder what they want me to do when I find the bird. I mean, it's a spirit hunt, but I see no reason to kill the thing. Red-Oath did not give any indication of what I should do. She said to defend myself if it attacked and to find it if it fled. How will they know I've completed my task?  Is there any kind of proof I can bring from here that will cross over to the other side?"

She shook her head apologetically.

"I'm so sorry. More questions. Never mind. Like you said, I was thrown in here on my own, I'll figure this out. Though I really do appreciate your assistance thus far."

She stopped again as she considered another passageway between buildings. Closing her eyes, she inhaled in an attempt to isolate the hickory scent of the gaffling bird.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 00:55

When Zoe asks him about his nature, the stranger laughs again. "Believe it or not, I don't know that either, but I don't let it get to me. If you really want to know, maybe we can puzzle it out sometime. I don't think it really matters right now, and I am not certain it ever will. You have a name and I don't, you are a Garou and I am not... but what difference does that make, in the grand scheme of things?"

The cowboy suddenly stopped short and let out an exasperated chuckle. With a quick darting movement he stepped forward and plucked a thin stick out from behind Zoe's ear. "Aha! That's where I left my Lucifer. I plum forgot I stashed it there when I was whistling." He struck it on the patched knee of his rough pants and took a contented drag, his yellow eyes closing as he savored the sensation. Presently he opened them and pointed at Zoe with the glowing coffin-nail. "I might not have all the answers, and what few answers I have might not be the ones you want to hear, but it is quite refreshing to talk to a Garou that is asking them in the first place."

"On a related note, I can't really help you out with who your dad was. But I gather that there are several folks around here who knew him well enough. Find them and maybe a few more pieces will fall into place."

When Zoe wonders out loud about how best to finish her rite of passage, the stranger took another pull and shrugged. "You're supposed to be one of Cockroach's chosen, right? Come up with something creative. Or better yet, something crazy." The yellow eyes fixed on her. "You have some wits and a tongue, so that puts you miles ahead of most umbral critters, including that idiot bird. Hell, for all I know, what you do to or with the bird is part of the test."

The stranger took one last tobacco infused breath before he tipped his hat, smiled cryptically, and began receding into the spectral early morning darkness.


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 11:04

Zoe shrugged as she glanced down yet another corridor.

"Guess it don't make much difference who or what you are, so long as you ain't tryin' to hurt me.  You've been most helpful and quite patient with all my questions."

She smiled then furrowed her brow as she ponders his suggestion on what to do about the gaffling.

"I wouldn't say crazy is my usual way, but I can be fairly creative. Not sure what cockroaches have to do with all this, but I suppose I will find out sooner or later."

She lifted her hand in a wave as the Laughing Stranger disappeared into the shadows.

"Thanks again, No-Name."

The cowboy's scent lingered in his wake, but it faded quickly allowing her to sniff out that silly bird once again.

This time she spotted it strutting around on the overhang of a nearby building. She quickly glanced away and took a seat under the same awning.  As she sat, Zoe released an exasperated sigh.

"I can't believe that crazy bird has outsmarted me all this time. I've turned this town upside down."

She pulled out her pocket watch and growled in frustration.

"Go into the spirit world, they said. Hunt the gaffling, they said. Easier said than done, Red."

She continued to finger the pocket watch as she glanced out of the corner of her eye toward the bird's perch, hoping the little critter would not miss a chance to rub his 'superior intellect' in her face.

"I don't know what I'm going to do if I never find him. I guess just stay here forever. I can't face the pack having failed my rite of passage. I can't dishonor my father like that."

Zoe sighed again and hoped this would work. If not, well, it likely wouldn't end well for the gaffling.


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 13:19

Zoe did not have to wait long before the gaffling lived up to her expectations. The avian spirit chirped and flapped over towards her, circling lazily on the ephemeral wind a good twenty feet above her head. "Hey, hey, wolf cub, you're alive! That's great! Now the hunt can go on! You are never gonna catch me!! Cockroach will be happy for me and sad for you!" It laughed, an odd cooing lilt, and then began flapping away.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 13:38

Zoe feigned surprise at the bird's sudden appearance. She then ever-so-slightly aimed her pocket watch in the bird's direction and willed it to work on him the way O'Toole had used it on her.

"Not so fast, my feathered friend," she snarled quietly.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 15:58

Almost faster than the eye could follow, an ivory spider materialized out of the ephemera in midair and wrapped its spindly legs around the fleeing bird. The two spirits plummeted to earth, the gaffling screeching in surprise and beating its wings as the spider scurried over and under and around, covering the thrashing bird in bands of steel-strong thread. In its struggles, the gaffling shed a final sooty feather.

The gaffling craned its head to look at Zoe with a single beady eye, its shocked voice elevated to a squeak. "What is- who are- you can command the spiders? How?" It lay still as the spider continued its work, binding the dove-thing securely.

Zoe could feel the shadows lengthening around her as Luna began to slip below the hazy penumbral horizon.

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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 16:14

Zoe had a smug, satisfied look on her face, a look that was immediately wiped away by the rapidly setting moon.

"No time to explain now, Feathers. I want to get out of here before the moon sets.  The cowboy suggests there are things here I'm not interested in running into." As she approached the spider scurried up her arm and rested on her shoulder, where it sat, regarding its handiwork in silence.

Zoe attempted to scoop up the restrained bird, but the creature would not budge. She inspected the webbing, and realized that the metal webs seemed to be anchored deep in the ground. The bird was held fast.

A hysterical, desperate scream echoed out of one of the dark buildings ahead. The last few rays of the moon were swiftly giving away to the creeping brown fog of day.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 16:34

Zoe growled a curse as she attempted to free the bird from the webbing. She grabbed the spider from her shoulder and put him on the ground next to the bird. The scream caused Zoe to turn her head toward its sound. She snarled and turned back to the spider.

"Keep him bound, but get him out of the ground. And both of you just stay here until I get back, understood? I have no time for your games, Feathers, or your rhymes, Eight-Legs."

Zoe cautiously yet decidedly stalked toward the sound of the scream. She stopped just outside the door to listen for any other sounds or indications of what was going on inside. Her claws instinctively extended from her hands as she anticipated a fight.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 17:22

The spider emitted a quiet burst of Onesong in protest when she grabbed it, but when she placed it on the ground it did nothing but attempt to crawl back to her like a petulant child. The bird chirped, its voice panicky. "What?! Where are you going wolfling!? You catch your prey and then just leave me for the scavengers?! Stop!"  

Through a broken window Zoe was able to make out a monstrous spirit shape lurching through the empty house, and Zoe could tell by the reek of old sweat that it was one of same creatures she so narrowly escaped from earlier. She could hear the needle-fanged Banes chittering obscenities at each other, and as she paused she realized its uneven footfalls were accelerating as the possessed began to run full-tilt towards the doorway. The front door was closed, but that would only buy her a few seconds at best.

She could feel her rage building as her long claws slid out of her fingers, her mouth filled with fangs, and her muscles grew taut and strong. She was dimly aware of a clattering commotion in the distance that was growing steadily closer, but that barely registered now. Now she had almost lost herself to her hatred of the stinking evil that was rushing towards her.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 17:42

Zoe sprinted back to the gaffling, slashing the wires connecting him to the ground with one claw as she grabbed the bird with the other. Her spider friend leaped onto her leg and made its way back to the pocket watch. Something told her she should also grab the stray feather, as the feathers had interested the cowboy earlier on.  

As she ran, she finished shredding the steel webbing.  She dashed around a corner and tossed the gaffling into the air.  She growled at the bird, encouraging it to get as far away as possible. The gaffling needed no such encouragement as it flew off without looking back.

For a moment she considered using her watch against the bane, but she did not want to risk harming her spider and doubted he could work fast enough to help her out much at this point.  Zoe considered fighting the creature, but with the moonlight gone and the banes headed her way, she chose instead to get the heck out of Dodge.

Zoe stared into the shiny surface of the stopwatch and willed herself back into the real world, hoping she would pass through before the bane found her. A brief thought crossed her mind as she wondered who or what she would be facing when she returned to the real world.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 22:29

The murky fog of day flooded through the city like a dismal tide as the last rays of the moon dipped below the horizon. Zoe concentrated hard on her pocket watch, but in the failing light there was no way she could see a her reflection. A shattering crash and another scream echoed out, and the Bane thing came hobbling at her out of the swirling twilight. With shock Zoe realized it was changing- the skin and clothes of a ragged looking man seemed to be coalescing around the evil spirits, like a cloak gradually being pulled tight. The thing began croaking in a voice that was impossible to mistake for human.


You gonna live in pain,
With fire in your brain.
And sleep gonna obey me,
And visit you never,
And the curse will be
Forever and ever.

A long disjointed arm was raised awkwardly, puppet-like, and long talons of broken bone stretched out towards the young werewolf. The face contorted into a unmistakable grimace of pain, but Zoe could tell that the writhing spirits underneath were smiling.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Tue 17 Sep 2013, 23:00

Zoe took a few steps backwards as the creature approached and spoke to her.  The human skin was a new development for the banes in Zoe's experience with them.  She wondered if this skin was actually that of a man from the real world.  Was it possible for her to destroy the spirit without destroying the man, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Or were these evil spirits only able to take willing victims across spiritual borders?  

Zoe growled at the approaching creature.  

"If you're so certain of my pain and sleepless nights, why not face me without the protection of a flimsy human shell?  You're not afraid of a little pup, are you, spirits?"

Zoe could hardly contain her rage as the human-clad apparition reached toward her; its face still grimacing; its spirits still mocking.  She felt her muscles tense as she prepared to pounce at the first sign of attack.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Wed 18 Sep 2013, 01:13

The monstrous thing yowled at her and hurtled forward, boney hands whistling through the air as they grasped and twitched. A lashing black worm darted out of the man's eye socket and bit into her bicep as the tortured face droned on:

And the dew won't wet you
When it falls by you,
And your gonna-
Zoe's claws cut off the rest of the mockery's sonnet at about the same time she tore off the damn thing's head. As her razor-sharp talons passed through skin, bone and ephemera, she felt strangely, distantly happy. Despite the pain and her feral haze of rage and instinct, this felt right. The Wyrm-spawn collapsed spasmodically at her feet, and as the last few banes tried feebly to wriggle free and escape, she stamped them out with her clawed feet, one by one.  

More ghostly screams accompanied by gibbering expletives echoed and re-echoed out of the obscuring mist. Zoe felt the searing burn of the acid in her wound as four more twisted outlines came leaping and shambling forward, their foul stink filling her nostrils, stifling her. Each of the possessed creatures was more broken and monstrous than the last, but it didn't matter. Zoe Kostas, Iron Rider, howled in defiance at them as they surged forward, scrambling for a chance to tear at her and spill Garou blood.

They never got the chance. Amid a symphony of Weaver-infused Onesong, the first mockery suddenly hurtled backward, tackled by three glittering metal spiders who immediately began tearing it apart with their sharp strut-like legs. Another was caught in a translucent web and born to the ground screaming futile curses as yet more pattern spiders descended to finish him off. The other two hesitated for only a fraction of a second before they decided to ignore their fallen. Both pounced on Zoe, warped limbs flailing, lipless human mouths snapping and drooling. Zoe caught one in the chest with her open claw, slaying it instantly, but the other got its sharp nails into her shoulders, pulling itself face to face with the Garou. More dark worms boiled out of it, their vile needle-mouths straining to bite her muzzle and eyes.  

And then it was gone. A fast wind smelling of limestone and concrete blew past her face, taking with it the hideous mockery. Looming out of the fog was the massive Weaver architect, its head and many shoulders towering above the squat farmhouses and shops. It appeared to have lazily flicked the vile creature with one of its spindly forelegs. Zoe heard the body of the last Wyrm thing fall to earth well over fifty feet away with a satisfying crunch.

The young werewolf barely had time to process this before the screams of the dying mockeries and the music of the Weaver were all but drowned out by a roaring, galloping, rattling cacophony. A ramshackle stage coach pulled by pie-bald horses came careening out of nowhere, its old iron rims red-hot from friction. Driven by a wild-bearded bespectacled man wearing overalls and a cap, the stage seemed to show no sign of slowing or changing course as it came pounding forward, scattering the pattern spiders and even making the giant Architect step back. At the last possible moment the driver yanked mightily back on the reigns and the carriage came skidding to a halt on two wheels, nearly falling over. Seemingly carried by the momentum, the Laughing Stranger came bounding out of the cab, and oblivious to the scene of mayhem, offered Zoe a genteel bow, gesturing toward the stage with his doffed hat.  

The driver showed slightly less decorum. He was fumbling for a shotgun that was lying at his feet on the buckboard. "ALL ABOARD EL EXPRESSO CAMINO REAL!" The driver howled, and fired both barrels over his head.

The Weaver spirits, momentarily thrown off guard by the sudden appearance of intruders, swiftly regrouped and began scuttling towards them menacingly.


Last edited by The Laughing Stranger on Mon 23 Sep 2013, 17:17; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Wed 18 Sep 2013, 06:51

Zoe's heart pounded with rage-laced adrenaline. The overwhelming sense of satisfaction that came with destroying those creatures intrigued Zoe.  It felt as if killing such disgusting spirits was not only the right thing to do but the destined thing to do.

When the cowboy and his driver came careening into town, Zoe breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of a familiar face. She glanced quickly about the area at the gathered spiders and the bane carnage and decided her work here was done.  She leapt over the spiders and up to the stagecoach.

Waving back to the spiders, she said. "Don't worry, guys. These are friendlies. I can take it from here. Thanks for the help."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Iron Riders   Wed 18 Sep 2013, 11:51

The strains of the Onsesong slowing into somber hostility and the Weaver spirits swarmed to surround the stagecoach. There seemed to be dozens of them spilling out onto the half-lit street. One of the identical spiders murmured:

Upon our review,
You have threatened our Gauntlet-
Abused the pattern.

Your purpose unclear
Your mindset wrong, dangerous
We must clarify
The cowboy shook his head. "I don't think you want to stick around and see what their exact definition of 'clarify' is." The yellow-eyed stranger pulled out a worn Jack of hearts and tore horizontally across the middle, tossing one half back into the cab of the stagecoach and flinging the other into the buzzing arachnid horde. Then with a careless laugh he leaped into the massing spiders, bounding and dodging as they attempted to snare him in their webs. He moved impossibly, eluding their sticky steel traps as he danced right up to the feet of the mighty Weaver giant. The Architect reared up and began raining down thunderous blows, trying to crush him like an insect under its many legs.

"Perdón, chica, we should be going!!" The stage driver roared as he dropped his spent shotgun and lashed the reigns. "Git aboard, por favor!"
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